Prep 1 hr
Cook 0 mins
This is a great appetizer to make now while basil is plentiful and stash in the freezer to use all year. I pull one out of the freezer when I need something quick for a dinner party appetizer or potluck. Use 6 or 10 oz custard cups
- 1 lb cream cheese, softened (can use half Neufchatel)
- 1 lb unsalted butter, softened (don't substitute margarine)
- 3 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves (2-3 bunches)
- 4 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese or 4 ounces romano cheese
- 1⁄3 cup olive oil
- 2 ounces pine nuts
- With electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
- Set aside.
- Prepare Pesto: In a blender or food processor, whirl to a paste the basil, parmesan or romano cheese, and olive oil.
- Stir in pine nuts.
- Set aside.
- Cut cheesecloth squares about 10-12" square to line custard cups (It needs to be able to cover the bottom, go up the sides and still have some to fold over the top of the torta).
- If you use the really loose weave stuff (standard grocery store cheesecloth), you'll need two pieces per custard cup.
- Moisten the cheesecloth with water, wring dry and lay two sheets out flat on top of each other.
- Smoothly line your custard cups with the cheesecloth (this can be a bit tricky, but it doesn't have to be perfectly smooth).
- With your fingers or a flexible rubber spatula, spread a thin layer (about 1/2 inch) of the cheese mixture in a lined custard cup.
- Cover with 1/4-/12 inch pesto.
- Put another layer of cheese.
- If you can, do another layer of pesto and cheese, so you end up with 3 cheese layers and 2 pesto layers.
- Two layers of cheese and one of pesto works if that's the way it comes out.
- Fold the ends of the cheesecloth neatly over the top of the torta and press down lightly with fingers.
- Repeat with remaining cheese and pesto.
- I get 5 large custard cups or 6 small cups plus one large cup from this quantity of ingredients.
- Chill until tortas are firm when pressed (at least 2 hrs, I usually just let them go overnight).
- Remove from custard cups by gently pulling on the cheesecloth around the edges.
- Remove the cheesecloth and wrap the torta tightly in two layers of saran wrap.
- Seal in sandwich size ziplock freezer bags and place in freezer.
- To serve: Remove from freezer and thaw (overnight in frig works well).
- Bring to near room temp and srve with sliced baguettes and crisp raw vegetables.
- Variation: For a large party, do one massive torta in a charlotte mold, loaf pan or a clean clay flowerpot.
- You'll end up with 7-8 layers of each filling in this one.
- I wouldn't freeze this size, but it will keep in the frig for up to 5 days.
We loved this. My husband says its addictive. And it freezes so nicely.
This is a fabulous recipe! I have made this using both green pesto and a sun dried tomato pesto, alternating layers for a festive holiday appetizer.